Never Eat or Drink This During a Heat Wave, Experts Say
Drop this drink and step away from these foods that will dehydrate you.
With temperatures climbing to record-breaking levels across the country, everyone should be doing what they can to stay safe. Drinking water and wearing sunscreen (preferably with an SPF of 30 or above) can help protect you during a heat wave, but there are also certain foods and beverages you should avoid while trying to beat the heat—and they're not what you might think. Read on to find out what four things experts say you should never consume as temperatures climb.
Coffee and tea
In the summer months, you might assume an iced tea or coffee would be the pinnacle of refreshment. But those drinks have powerful diuretic properties, meaning they naturally help flush water out of the body. Diuretics can be a great aid in helping the kidneys flush out excess water, which in turn lowers blood pressure, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But when temperatures are soaring, it's important that we hang on to as much water as possible. And that's when relying on diuretics like coffee too much could lead to dehydration.
As a stimulant, caffeine can actually bring on the urge to go to the bathroom. And before you switch out your iced latte for an iced tea, keep in mind that many herbs used in popular teas also have diuretic qualities. According to the Mayo Clinic, several herbs including dandelion, ginger, and juniper, have diuretic qualities. Hibiscus, too, is also a natural diuretic and should be avoided, Medical News Today reports.
Some healthy veggies, including fennel, artichokes, and asparagus
Some vegetables are also considered diuretics. Amino acids in asparagus, for example, are natural diuretics, and reduce water retention. There are several other foods, including onions, garlic, bell peppers, artichokes, and fennel, that create a similar effect, Healthline reports.
Again, it's not that you should avoid eating these foods all together—many of them offer great nutritional benefits. Just be aware that they also contain diuretic properties, and plan your water consumption accordingly.
A fresh, ripe mango seems like a great idea in the sweltering summer months, but mangoes are another food that may actually flush water out of your body. Mangoes are high in potassium, which is a natural diuretic. Eating too much mango during a heat wave could dehydrate you.
If you're craving something sweet and natural, experts say that strawberries and melons make a good substitute, because of their high water content.
Many of us love kicking back with a cool cocktail on a hot day to quench our thirst. But too many alcoholic drinks could cause you to feel less hydrated than if you'd drunk nothing at all. That's because alcohol has natural diuretic properties, forcing your liver to go into overdrive to cleanse it from your system, Healthline explains.
On a normal day, this can cause a hangover. But on an especially hot day, the stress and strain your body experiences from alcohol can lead to a major dehydration episode. So make sure to drink in moderation when it's especially hot out, and alternate glasses of water with cocktails.
That advice holds true whether you're drinking alcohol or not. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that women should drink around 2.7 liters a day, and men should drink around 3.7 liters a day to stay hydrated.